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Everything posted by Undertow

  1. I was thinking about getting a free diver to go maybe 10 feet away in frame (fisheye) and point a slaved strobe over the field across the frame, to light the field up while I light one big in foreground. We'll see if it works. Hope the weather cooperates... thanx for the input. I'll post what i get when i get it. Cheers, Chris
  2. I found an amazing spot where there's a field of upside down jellyfish but I need to figure out how to shoot it better. I shot this with my 17-55mm at 17mm and practically minimum focus with a +3 dioptre to correct for the 8" dome. I had this lens on cause i was looking for turtles. The problem (i see at least...) is there's not enough separation. Even with the background out of focus (shot at f/4, low light) the infocus jelly is still too similar in colour and the pic just feels 'busy'. How can i show one in detail & the whole field at the same time. Should I try the 10.5 or even the 10.5 + 1.4x tele to get closer focus & try to "force" the perspective as they say?? should i get another free diver to model in the shot? what about the 12-24 (though mines broken now...)? lighting techniques? jellies are hard to pull detail out of... I would appreciate any input. I can't wait to go back again, its so creepy, you feel like the lochness monster's gonna appear out of the green fog and swoop over the field of jellies... Cheers, Chris
  3. I'll ring in also for an Aquatica D200 retrofit! I found myself screaming for a 45 degree finder yesterday while trying to shoot low angles on a super silty bottom. Cheers, Chris
  4. Hi Udo, Fantastic. Sounds like the culprit may have been some sort of humidity or moisture getting into the camera. Makes sense, cause the air was very moist when it happened to me. fingers crossed indeed... Cheers, Chris
  5. Udo, don't know if it'll help but I had a similar problem with my Fuji S2 and my 80-400 where the focus would get locked at minimum forcing me to manually release it. I tried the lens on my D200 the next day after pulling it out out of the housing and the same thing happened which led me to believe it was a lens problem. However, it only happed for a few days while on vacation in Florida after dema and hasn't happened again since. The only variable I could come up with was that the weather was quite cold and humid at the same time. It was florida so it wasn't snowy winter temps, but it was surprisingly chilly and moist. Perhaps this caused the problem, but I haven't had it since, so I havn't sent any gear off (and doesn't get so cold here in Bermuda). Yours sounds much more serious though. The only thing I would suggest is to give the gear a good cleaning - optical elements, lens contacts, sensor etc. first before sending it off. Hope it works out. Cheers, Chris
  6. Here are a couple pics where I found my 5fps indispensible. I shot these as part of an article on freediving for lobsters (my first UW based shoot!! - albeit for the free bimonthly magazine released with our newspaper). Not the most spectacular pics, but there was this violent little chop on the surface which made the 50/50 shots real tough and forced me to fire away like a "machine gun" to get the right composition. flickr flickr haha - I too will sometimes come back from an accident with over a hundred pics, but from every position, angle & perspective i can get. I am a very trigger happy shooter - but I don't fire blindly. Serves me well though. Cheers, Chris
  7. Hi all, In a recent D200 vs D80 discussion I said 5fps vs 3fps was vital for me to help "capture the moment" on my D200. Dr. Mustard disagreed with me arguing that setup and patience should be used to "capture the moment". Now I don't want to compare portfolios with the good doctor, but I love my 5fps underwater and want to know what everyone else thinks. (topside stuff aside). Ex 1. When I shoot macro, I set my 2 SB-105's to 1/4 and 1/16. I can get 2-3 frames at 5fps with the strobes firing depending on battery power. When little fishies are darting around or I'm bobbing around, getting 3 properly exposed frames instantly helps to catch focus or composition in one of them. Ex 2. This weekend I was shooting someone freediving for lobsters (the industry is very well regulated here in Bermuda). At one point, I saw a nice silhouette pic as he snorkelled above me, but my strobes were turned on. Instead of taking to time to turn them off and missing the shot, I fired at 5fps and by the 3rd pic I had the silhouette. Another spur of the moment shot I got when he peered into a cave and I suddenly needed only 1 strobe on 1/2 power and the second shot at 5fps had only that as my full power stobe had not recycled. Perhaps this sounds like sloppy shooting to some. There's much merit for being prepared and patient 1 shot at a time. But in this digital age, I can't help but take advantage of the features these tools offer. I'm still fairly new to UW shooting, but I find I could miss some pictures without the high frame rates. Especially topside as a photojournalist, but below as well. Let me know what you think, Cheers, Chris
  8. I'd like to wave a flag for the Kata R-103 backpack. It's much more stylish and the padding is fantastic - these guys also make bulletproof vests. I've had mine for almost a year now and use it every day as a photojournalist. Its still as good as new and the padding hasn't worn out like the padding in my lowepro. Its smaller than others mentioned, like the lowepros, tenbas and tamaracs and much less "boxy" and much more sexy. It would just squeeze the 2 strobes, 2 bodies, 3 lenses and has a laptop sleeve. Kata also has some bigger back packs. Another great feature is the ability to switch the bag to fit an 8 inch dome, spare lenses and housing support gear for the boat in 2 secs. You just move 1 section of the big divider. I just bought their CC-195 video shoulder case which is perfectly designed to hold a full dslr housing, 2 ports, 2 strobes, arms & stuff and is carryon size. These guys make good stuff (and I have no affiliation to them). Cheers, Chris
  9. I hear people recommend the 16mm FE but I'd like to know how fishy it is on digital. I love my 10.5mm but sometimes its just too fishy. I like the 12-24mm and use it topside a lot, but it doesn't 'pop' like some other lenses (and I just broke it...) and the 16mm gets wider. I also wonder if Nikon will ever release a 9mm f/2.8 DX. Can anyone post a pic that shows the 16mm FE's distortion, perhaps a pic of a building or something with straight lines please? Cheers, Chris
  10. Hi Chris I'm still fairly new to this but I definitely prefer dual strobes. Definitley get the sync cord instead of slaving it (unless you want to place the stobe away from the camera for some intruiging lighting senarios...) I have dual SB-105's and for wide angle you'll want the diffusers attached. This is a problem becuse the diffuser covers the slave sensor and it's near impossible to trigger the sensor. I used to have a lot of trouble with this, removing the diffuser and getting hot spots in my pics. I love the ability to add fill light at 1/2 power from the second strobe, lighting is more dynamic. Especially for macro. Tis more work, but fun to play with. Enjoy, Chris
  11. Am I right to assume I should submit web quality images or images with a copyrite plastered across first and wait for them to ask me for full quality images. Or do people generally send full quality pics up front? I have never submitted images to a magazine before. I appreciate any input. Cheers, Chris
  12. okiediver, I certainly feel your frustration. It's fairly easy to improve in photoshop, but your camera settings need changing too: (photo by okiediver) Normally I edit all my jpegs (i know, i know, RAW blah blah - i'm lazy) using Levels in photoshop. This photo however screamed Hues/Saturation. Here's what I did in the Hues/Saturation command: Master Tab Saturation -35 Blues Tab Hue -5 Lightness -35 It doesn't make it perfect, but much better. First, the image is too saturated. If you have a saturation setting in your camera, turn it down. I used to shoot my D200 in high saturation but others clued me in that the colours were too wild. Next, figure out a white balance to use, auto functions never work underwater. I set my D200 to 5900K and it works great (you prob. don't have colour temp WB...). Last is exposure. The image is over exposed. I know that if you turned it down, you would lose detail on the wreck, but that is the bane of ambient light shooting into the sun. For a full wreck shot, try shooting with the sun or get close with strobes and using a negative exposure compensation. I'm still fairly new to UW shooting, perhaps some of the experts can give you better advice, but those are my thoughts. Cheers, Undertow
  13. I guess no one can answer the Canon 500D +2 VS single element dioptre opitmized for the dome question. I'll have to wait till I get my 12-24 fixed and do some tests. May be a while from what I've heard about Nikon servicing. I'll post the results whenever it happens. Cheers, Undertow
  14. Great thread, amazing pics, especially the dolphin/wreck shot, the nemo FE magical reefscape, the swimmer action portrait, the badass seahorse, the motion blur shark, the sub pano and the leopard seal dragging the penguin down. those blew me away. here's one of my faves i froze my butt off recently to get. (its 65 now, from 85 in the summer, time to break out teh drysuit... im serious, brrrrr) Not bad with only 5 months shooting digital UW. Biggest nudibranch/sea goddess i've ever seen, 4 inches!! it was stuck on this little tuft of green stuff (plant? sponge?) trying to reach over to this other sponge just on the edge of the frame. got lucky, shot over 30 frames and only got 1 like this. Cheers, Undertow
  15. Hi pakman, I'm still new to this, haven't actually used a diopter yet (since i broke my 12-24... ouch) but I've just learned that the required diopter is determined by the size of the dome, not the lens. I've figured that my 20cm/8inch aquatica dome works best with a +3 diopter. I've also learnt that my Canon 500D is a +2. I just bought a +3 B&W and since I can't test it yet, would anyone know which would work better. The cheaper ($50) optimized +3 B&W or the double element ($150) Canon 500D?? Cheers, Chris
  16. Hi Mike, it depents on what is more important to you. if price is a major factor, then go for the D80, spend the extra money on a good lens (like a nikon instead of a 3rd party lens) and never look back. if carrying weight is an issue, get the D80. image quality is EXACTLY the same. If price & weight aren't a big deal, or maybe you're slightly worried about dropping it: 1. get insurance, and 2. get the D200. Like Rocha said, the D200 is better built, its magnesium alloy instead of plastic. I just dropped my D200 from 4ft onto concrete and it survived. (though i can't say the same for my plastic 12-24.... doh! - and the body hit first). I doubt the plastic D80 would have survived that. It also has dedicated buttons for WB, Quality and ISO which i use a lot on the surface, but not UW. For me the 5fps is essential, cause I shoot a lot of action and if you shoot any action (sports, wildlife etc.) that extra 2fps can get you that prize winning shot you waited 2 hrs for vs a pile of junk. Also, contrary to what Rocha said, the 5fps comes in handy UW if you're shooting with your strobes at less than full power. EX. when I shoot macro, i set my 2 SB105's to 1/4 and 1/16 and I get at least 2-3 frames (at 5fps, depending on battery power) with the flash. It really helps to "capture the moment". hope this helps. Cheers, undertow
  17. From a quick look at a couple books (i am by no means an expert...) it does look like a sort of hydromedusa, but we can't see the dome in the pics which is the distinguishing factor in these. hydromedusas, from what i gathered thru some quick reading, sound like a juvenile form of some jellys as they transform from the polyp into full blown jellyfish. however, some species spend their life as a hydromedusa. they seem to have a sort of inverted inner dome called a velum that distinguishes the phase. Again, i am no expert, but that's what it appears as from what i've read. Cheers, undertow
  18. Hi Helge, Your 20cm dome should work fine for your WA zoom. i don't think domes don't get much bigger than that - I think all you need is a diopter. Your lens may work without one but the virtual image is so close that the lens does all its focusing in a small range near the minimum focus of the lens. i'm guessing that's why the corners aren't sharp. I've just learned that a 20cm dome is optimized with a +3 diopter (regardless of the lens...). Of course, the dome needs to be the correct distance from the lens also, I know my aquatica uses extension rings to do this for my 20cm dome. Check out this thread: http://wetpixel.com/forums/index.php?showt...&hl=diopter I think you should figure out how to use the WA zoom, I suspect you may be disapointed trying to shoot hammerheads with a fisheye. It looks like your other lenses will do the job. A lightweight tele zoom like yours is essential cause you dont' wanna lug a heavy lens all over, you'll miss too many shots setting it up. Cheers, Chris
  19. Hi Helge, I would definitely bring a wide zoom and a medium zoom too. Galapagos (underwater) is full of big stuff, but not so big and docile that you could get by on a fisheye alone. Though it would be fun for the sea lions and whitetips (and eagle rays and whale sharks if you get to darwin & wolf). Most sharks are more timid, especially the hammerheads, and would be tough to shoot with the fisheye. The penguins and marine iguanas are small enough they would also be tough to fill a fisheye. You may want to bring your macro setup if you are going to the western side of Isabella where you find seahorses and frogfish and redlipped batfish, but only a 60mm not a 105mm as these aren't too small (the sea horses are almost a foot long! Also Cousin's rock near the main islands is a fantastic macro dive. There are probably other macro dives too. Also, if you have any big zooms, you will want one for topside. You will be doing land tours I'm sure and the bird life is fantastic. I brought my nikon 80-400 last time and it didn't leave my camera topside. There are some cool macro creatures topside like the crickets so the 60mm would again be useful. Again, a wide zoom is necessary for landscapes that would be too distorted with a fisheye. Whatever you bring I'm sure you'll have a fantastic time. What a magical place! Cheers, Chris
  20. I agree with all the thoughts so far, but I like to think of it more simply: - If primes weren't much better than zooms noone would use them. Zooms are a compromise in quality for convenience. It all started with primes. I definitely agree with the notion that a zoom will get you a larger variety of lower quality pics and primes will get you a smaller variety of higher quality pics on any given dive. Of course it all depends on the photographer... undertow
  21. I use Aquis microfiber towels made by a company called Britanne. I have about 5 of them and they are amazing. I've tried other microfiber & lens cloths and they don't compare. i use them for cleaning ports, orings/grooves & drying the housing after a rinse. of course you dont' wanna clean your port & greasy orings with the same towel, i dedicate a towel for each task. they are about 90cm x 45cm and are very thin but super absorbant - i used one as a proper towel while backpacking through australia for a month. you can get them at a lot of outdoors/camping stores, like EMS in the states. cheers, Undertow
  22. Hi, I just won this camera in a raffle and want to give it to my lady for xmas with an u/w housing. Has anyone taken the Canon Powershot S3 IS underwater and how does it measure up to other top level digicams?? Is there a reason Canon does not make a dedicated housing for this?? Only ikelite does. Does someone have a better camera in mind in the top tier digicams if i can trade this one in??? Cheers, Chris
  23. Hi Livin, i can't tell you much, i haven't used any of these. what i can say is that I would choose a SD800IS over an SD900 any day. The SD800 has a wider lens (28mm equivilent) which isn't too wide for UW but will help get as wide as possible if you can put a conversion lens on the housing. IS is awesome, I love it on my DSLR lenses and think it would help with macro shots of still subjects (where P&S cameras are strongest) or WA available light shots of reef/wreck/something still where you may need a long shutter speed. The difference b/w 7MP and 10MP cameras is negligable, anything 6MP or higher is fine for most uses, IMHO. I shoot an 8MP Canon IDMkII at 3/4 resolution to save space cause I shoot so much for work (newspaper) and print them in quality at all sorts of sizes. The downside to these cameras vs bigger digicams is you often have little if any control over white balance and exposure settings. Though nothing compares to colour temperature WB, focus area selection, instant firing response, continuous focusing and dedicated wheels for aperture and shutter speed on my D200 underwater. Ahhh my 2ï¿ Cheers, Chris
  24. I saw the Waterproof suits at DEMA and they are beautiful. the construction, look, flexibility everything. also people who've tried them rave about them but i think they're hard to find in the states. I do love my Henderson 5mm gold core, because in between dives or on the boat trip back everyone else is peeling off their freezing cold & wet wetsuits when my drying gold core keeps me toasty after dives too (it really is key). That being said, I would never dive wet in Cali again, did it once and would go dry if i lived there. Chris
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